Cost Of Living In Kiev – Expat Guide
Not being part of the European Union, Ukraine is one of the few countries in Europe where you could live for a fraction of what you need in western countries. You got beautiful women (excellent for single men), a low cost of living and hopefully, a source of income from abroad. What else can you ask for?
Obviously, life has different standards across different regions of Ukraine. You do not want to go in the eastern area, which is affected by a conflict with separatists. Instead, most foreigners tend to focus on Kiev, Lviv or Chernivtsi.
Kiev is the capital of Ukraine and the city with the highest quality of life – nothing to be worried about, as the cost of living in Kiev is still extremely low.
So, what should you know before moving to this beautiful country?
What Keeps the Cost of Living in Kiev so Low?
As the capital of Ukraine, Kiev has the highest standards in terms of living considerations. It is safe, beautiful and full of attractions.
There are also plenty of foreigners, not to mention the elite of the country. Despite all these, it is still extremely cheap when compared to other European cities – not even capitals, but small towns. What keeps everything so inexpensive then?
Not being part of the European Union keeps prices in Ukraine way below a foreigner’s expectations. Some things cost five times less, while other things cost 10 times less – it depends on what your lifestyle is about.
On another note, the ongoing conflict from the western side and the easy loss of Crimea to Russia have divided Ukraine, so the cost of living went even lower.
To help you get an idea about what to expect, today’s currency exchange will help you make conversions when analyzing prices:
- 1 EUR – 29 UAH
- 1 USD – 26 UAH
- 1 CHF – 26 UAH
- 1 GBP – 35 UAH
Now, how about the cost of living in Kiev? Even if you are not interested in moving to Kiev, knowing what to expect from the most expensive city in Ukraine will help you with your planning. Going to another city instead will make it even easier.
Going Out and Eating
Are you going there by yourself? Assuming you would like to go to a decent restaurant for a fancy meal, you should expect paying around 150 UAH – about three times less than for the same meal in the United Kingdom.
How about taking your partner out? Whether you want to impress one of the local beauties or you already have a partner, a meal for two people (three courses each) in a middle range restaurant will most likely cost around 600 UAH.
If fast food is your thing, you can keep most of the money in your wallet because you will barely spend 100 UAH.
What about drinks then? A local beer will cost you around 35 UAH, yet it depends on the beer – imported beer costs more. Soda drinks will cost less than 15 UAH, while having a cappuccino in the morning will only require 30 UAH.
Food and Markets
If you are into healthy foods, you want to prepare your own meals or you simply want to cut your expenses even more, a visit to the local market makes a good investment opportunity. Buy yourself a liter of milk for 24 UAH, a loaf of bread for 13 UAH or a kilo of rice for 27 UAH.
Other common foods that you can find everywhere include:
- Cheese (1kg)190 UAH
- Eggs (12) 32 UAH
- Beef (1kg) 140 UAH
- Chicken breast (1kg) 95 UAH
Adopting a healthy lifestyle? Here are the prices for the most common fruits and vegetables in Ukraine:
- Bananas (1kg) 30 UAH
- Oranges (1kg) 30 UAH
- Potatoes (1kg) 10 UAH
- Tomatoes (1kg) 38 UAH
- Apples (1kg) 17 UAH
If you are a smoker, you will find cigarettes to be about five times cheaper than in most EU countries and around 10 times cheaper than in the UK – only 40 UAH for a pack of high end cigarettes.
Real Estate and Transportation
Rent is the most important expense when analyzing the cost of living in Kiev. The city center is the most expensive area and a simple one bedroom apartment will cost about 14,000 UAH a month – two or three times cheaper than the average in the EU.
The price can go down by 50% if you live outside of the city center. The price will also double up if you want a three bedroom flat.
The same rule applies to buying real estate – 46,000 UAH per square meter in the city center and two times less for the same place outside of the city center.
Utilities should not exceed 3,000 UAH a month and that is including everything – electricity, cooling, heating, Internet, gas, garbage, water, prepaid mobile phone.
As for transportation, you will pay 8 UAH for a bus ride and 7 UAH per kilometer if you take a taxi.
Cost of living for a Local
Just like pretty much everywhere in Ukraine, Kiev citizens find life hard. They cannot really live by themselves, unless they have some really good jobs or their families are already doing well.
The average monthly wage is under 12,000 UAH – obviously, not enough for rent and utilities. Some people live with their parents and take their homes over, while others buy new homes once they get married.
With these aspects in mind, a western pension, online jobs or any other source of income from another countries might represent the ideal case for a foreigner looking forward to live in Kiev.
As a short final conclusion, Kiev is quite affordable if you are a foreigner. If you plan to move anywhere else, costs are significantly lower – simply compare the costs between the capital city back home and another city. However, an external source of money will certainly help in the process.
P.s – IF you are interested to meet Ukrainian women you should check out this number one foreign dating guide!